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The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) that runs the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala has moved the Supreme Court seeking more time to implement the apex court’s September 28 order granting the right of entry into the Ayyappa temple to all women, irrespective of age.

In its plea, the TDB has cited the lack of basic amenities among other things for seeking the delay in implementing the SC order.

The board is a government appointed body that does the bidding of the powers that be. The move is seen as a softening of the stand of the Communist Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who convened an all party meeting last week to discuss the issue only to see it fail. Later, he met the family of the temple head priest and representatives of the royal family and proposed that the Board could seek more time. The state government’s earlier stand was that there was no need for the Board to approach the SC on the issue. Last week, the TDB chief had said that the decision was taken after considering the “concerns of devotees, tantris as well as the order of the Supreme Court.” The temple last week today for the third time after the Supreme Court verdict and since then there has been tension and sporadic clashes between pro and anti women forces and the police too.

—India Legal Bureau

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